Curt R. Freed, MD, is head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and is director of the Neurotransplantation Program for Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Freed obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard College and his MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed residencies in internal medicine and psychiatry, as well as a research fellowship in clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he began his research on Parkinson’s disease.
Research in Dr. Freed's laboratory has focused on novel treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Starting in1988, in a collaborative effort with neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Breeze, his team in Colorado did the first transplant of human fetal dopamine cells into a Parkinson patient in the United States. Since that time, Dr. Freed and his team have performed implants on more than 60 Parkinson patients. His colleague Wenbo Zhou, PhD, and Dr. Freed have developed a new method for reprogramming human fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells using non-integrating adenoviral vectors. They have shown that these iPS cells can be generated from people with Parkinson’s disease and can be made into specific cell types such as dopamine neurons. They are developing a new strategy for treating Parkinson’s disease by turning on the neuroprotective gene DJ-1 in the brain using the FDA-approved drug, phenylbutyrate. Their goal is to stop progression of Parkinson’s disease with orally administered drugs.